Vital eye medications listed on PBS

Macular degeneration sufferers save as government lists sight-saving drugs on PBS


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SIGHT-SAVING: The government has listed drugs that treat macular degeneration on the PBS.

SIGHT-SAVING: The government has listed drugs that treat macular degeneration on the PBS.

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The government has added two medications which treat macular degeneration to the PBS

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EYE medications which help people with macular degeneration have been listed on the PBS potentially saving patients up to $7000 a year.

From November 1 patients will get  subsidised access to Ozurdex® (dexamethasone) for the treatment of blocked veins in the retina due to a condition known as retinal vein occlusion, which leads to varying degrees of vision loss.

This medicine works by preventing and suppressing inflammation that makes the condition worse. It is expected to benefit around 3,300 people a year and will be provided to patients who do not achieve improvement with other medicines to treat this condition. 

Without this PBS listing, this medication would cost patients around $5,000 a year for treatment or more than $1,350 per script. Under the PBS patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients, including pensioners, paying just $6.40.

The current PBS listing for the medication Lucentis® will be expanded for patients suffering from types of choroidal neovascularization not currently covered on the PBS. The condition is associated with unwanted growth of new blood vessels in the eye that impact vision, including due to pathological myopia (a type of extremely acute near-sightedness).

It will also be listed for other types of rare choroidal neovascularisation that is not related to aged-based macular degeneration.

This treatment is an injection in the eye and has the potential to improve a patient’s eye sight. 

This listing will mean an additional 1,200 patients a year will be able to access this medicine, which would cost up to $7,000 a year for treatment without PBS subsidy.

Under the PBS Australian patients will pay a maximum of $39.50 per script, with concessional patients paying $6.40.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the listings had the potential to preserve the precious sight of Australians and make it more affordable. 

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